Saturday, February 7, 2009
The most spectacular of annual festivals in the city, starting with the New Year Flower Fair in late January, on Grant and Pacific Streets: plants, flowers, produce, traditional dance, music, art, and cultural displays. A mid-February weekend is the big deal, with a Chinatown Community Fair—kite and lantern making, arts demos, folk dance, puppet shows—and the big nighttime New Year Parade.
With kids and grandkids in tow, my family prowls the parade route for a prime spot where the smaller children can see, and we wait breathlessly to hear the first blast of the firecrackers. Up the street come the glowing lanterns, crashing cymbals, marching bands, booming drum troupes, and famous dragons—roaring, fire-breathing, twisting, leaping, and sparkling red, gold, and green, accompanied by costumed attendants holding long strings of popping firecrackers.
Chinese New Year festivities are not the best for the under-2 crowd. At least not with my under-2 "crowd". Lion dancers, great! Music, great! Food, great! The snap, crack, boom of hundreds of thousands of firecrackers is just not happening for our son. We'll see how he handles the 4th this summer.
San Francisco Chinatown is going to be bubbling with activities till after the Chinese New Year! You can check on things to do on my blog www.travelismorefunwithkids.com and read my post (and more to come) on things to do in SF as well as crafts and Chinese traditions.
The best Chinese New Year parade to watch! So exciting for the little ones. They will love the lion dancers and the dragons. The only thing that is difficult: the crowd! It can be difficult to get a spot to view unless you arrive a few hours early or put your little one on your shoulders.
Chinese New Year is a BIG deal in Chinatown. There are many events going on around Chinatown - sometimes there are games for the little ones. The real treat, though, is the parade with the lion dancers. It is a real treat! Gotta warn you, though - take public transportation. It will be impossible to park or drive near the area. Arrive early - getting a spot for the parade can be very hard. If you are claustrophobic, they also show the parade on local television station 20.